A Busy Week …

October 29th, 2005

I'm just kind of catching my breath today. This week we taped two shows: On Tuesday I interviewed Anthony Swofford, author of the great Gulf War memoir Jarhead, which has recently been adapted into a feature film. Then on Friday (our usual taping day) I chatted with actress Joan Chen, whose filmmaking debut -- Xiu-Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl -- is an incredibly beautiful, heartfelt movie that you can (with some small effort) find on video (though not on DVD). (We had added the Tuesday taping because it was the only day Swofford would be available.) In between, on Thursday, we taped a "Wandering Josh" segment in which I tried to learn to be a Sam Spade-type gumshoe.

And while all this was happening, our apartment was being Agnes-ized. I mentioned in an earlier entry that I'd hired a professional organizer to try to tame the mess I have inflicted on our family's little two-bedroomer. Well, she's been over a few times now, and it's been kind of amazing. New bookcases have arrived from Ikea, many old solicitations for pre-approved credit cards have been recycled, and the mere re-angling of our bed has brought a whiff of feng shui to the master bedroom. My wife's collapsed closet has been sturdily rebuilt by an Orthodox Jewish handyman, nearly bringing her to Talmudic tears of gratitude. And at Agnes's suggestion, I asked our building manager whether the nine years' accumulation of mold on our walls might call for a repainting; shortly thereafter, a very nice painter named Phil (religious affiliation unknown) came over and repainted much of our apartment -- including Sara's closet, which Agnes then re-reorganized. ...

I can sense that Agnes is a very spiritual person -- that she sees organizing people's lives as a higher calling. And I can tell that in me she has found her entropic Moriarty: a person whose genius for creating clutter nearly matches her own for eliminating it. Our messy pad may seem unassuming to the casual visitor (not that we've been allowing any!), but to a world-class de-clutterer like Agnes it's the Holy Grail -- that ultimate challenge that can either make or break an organizer's career. What the late Johnny Cochran was to the O.J. trial, Agnes aims to be here -- defender of the indefensible, poetic conjurer of the unlikely victory: If the mess doesn't fit, you mustn't submit. If she succeeds in her unlikely quest -- and she's already made significant headway! -- then "Agnes" and "Josh's apartment" may come to rival "Hercules" and "Augean Stable" in the heroic literature. ...

Entry Filed under: getting organized


  • 1. Sue T.  |  October 31st, 2005 at 8:30 pm

    I was all psyched for Anthony Swofford or Joan Chen, and instead, I see that TJKS is in reruns for at least the next couple of weeks, according to my TiVo program guide? Boo hoo! I was all set to enjoy some fresh Josh. I’m going through withdrawal now.

  • 2. Lori  |  November 1st, 2005 at 10:17 am

    Hi Sue,

    Good news! While we do have two weeks of repeats (last night was the Barbara Boxer show, next week it’s Adonal Foyle), be sure to tune in November 14 for Anthony Swofford and November 21 for Simon Winchester. The best way to get the latest broadcast information is on our website – under “TV Program”. Thanks for watching!

    -Lori (aka Josh’s humble producer)

  • 3. Josh Kornbluth  |  November 1st, 2005 at 4:30 pm

    I am so thrilled to see that my astoundingly wonderful producer, Lori Halloran, has actually posted a comment on my blog! She’s definitely come a long way from the start of the season, at which point — to my knowledge — she’d never read a single blog, thus depriving herself of countless misspent hours. Go, Lori, go!

    And by the way, Sue, both the Swofford and Chen interviews were extremely cool — to me, at least. I hope you and your TiVo both dig them!

  • 4. John Trosko  |  November 7th, 2005 at 12:08 am

    Hi Josh— so glad I found your blog. You know, Mark Morford in the SF Gate did a really great article Friday about clutter and organizing— “junk” as he so aptly puts it. It’s really quite funny, and serious at the same time. You can find it online, or I did a post on it at my blog: http://organizingla.blogs.com/organizingla_blog/2005/11/why_do_you_have.html — John

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